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In Japan, no return to nuclear power any time soon, despite loud voices wanting this,

Nuclear Power’s Growing Fan Base in Japan Faces a Reality Check  https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-04-06/nuclear-power-s-growing-fan-base-in-japan-faces-a-reality-check By Tsuyoshi Inajima and Shoko Oda, 6 April 2022,   Voices calling for Japan to ramp up its use of nuclear power are getting louder, but a rapid return is unlikely even as the nation faces another possible energy crunch this summer. 

The global power crisis is causing electricity bills to surge in Japan, while war in Ukraine is pressuring the country to seek alternatives to Russian energy. The fragility of the nation’s power grid was exposed last month when the one-two punch of a strong quake and frigid weather nearly delivered a blackout to Tokyo.

With few resources available to build capacity, and the threat of another power shortage looming with the return of hot, humid weather, lawmakers from both the ruling party and opposition are calling for a quick restart to reactors. Public support is also growing, as a recent survey showed a narrow majority in Japan now support turning idled plants back online

But a web of red-tape governing nuclear reactors born from the Fukushima nuclear disaster 11 years ago means that resuming operations can’t speed up, no matter the political pressure.

“If the Nuclear Regulation Authority approves nuclear reactor restarts based strictly on scientific findings, and not political decisions, then the current pace won’t change anytime soon,” said Reiji Ogino, an analyst at Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities Co.

Japan’s NRA oversees the restart protocols of the country’s remaining 33 operable nuclear reactors. Ever since Japan turned its fleet of 54 reactors offline after the 2011 disaster, only 10 have restarted under the new rules that ensure the units are safe. 

“The NRA is restarting nuclear reactors at a slower pace than everyone had expected,” Ogino said. 

That’s putting Japan’s power grid under more strain, which nearly caused the blackout in Tokyo last month. Thermal power plants were knocked out by a magnitude 7.4 earthquake, followed by a blast of cold weather that boosted power demand, threatening outages in the nation’s biggest city. While Tokyo managed to prevent a disaster, the situation could repeat when summer demand spikes as residents turn on their air conditioners. 

Seven nuclear power units, while being cleared by the NRA, have yet to finish additional construction work needed to restart. “It’s unlikely that these units will restart before the upcoming peak summer season,” Ogino said. 

Syusaku Nishikawa, an analyst at Daiwa Securities Co., forecasts most of the seven reactors won’t resume operations until October next year at the earliest.

One way to speed up the process would be to shift nuclear authority back to the government. Before the independent NRA was created on the back of the Fukushima disaster, the authority existed under Japan’s trade ministry, which had actively pushed for using more atomic power but at the cost of cutting corners. Passing that power back isn’t expected anytime soon, and would be highly controversial.

“Someone has to take responsibility for safety” should the rules change and nuclear power plants that haven’t met standards are allowed to operate, said Nishikawa. “There’s a lot of difficulty in making that political decision.”

April 7, 2022 Posted by | Japan, politics | Leave a comment

The spectre of tactical nuclear weapons use in Ukraine

The spectre of tactical nuclear weapons use in Ukraine, What are these weapons and could Russia use them in Ukraine?  Aljazeera,  Alex Gatopoulos 6 Apr 2022

As Russia flounders on the battlefields of Ukraine, the once-unthinkable possibility of nuclear weapons use is now on the rise, as President Vladimir Putin’s options for victory narrow. Tactical nuclear weapons have not been part of strategic thinking since the end of the Cold War in 1991. What are these weapons and what would be the significance of their use?

What are they?

Tactical nuclear warheads were created to give military commanders more flexibility on the battlefield. In the mid-1950s, as more powerful thermonuclear bombs were being built and tested, military planners thought that smaller weapons with a shorter range would be more useful in “tactical” or military situations…………

Tactical weapons were meant to be used against troop concentrations, ships, marshalling yards, airfields, etc. During the Cold War, they were integrated into every level of military planning by both NATO and its communist equivalent, the Warsaw Pact.

The Czechoslovak army alone had plans to use 131 nuclear weapons against NATO targets as part of its initial attack. Other Warsaw Pact and NATO members had their own plans for nuclear use.

Any such exchange would have rendered much of central Europe immediately uninhabitable, the concern being that tactical nuclear use would very quickly escalate to strategic nuclear use with most of the United States, the Soviet Union, France and the United Kingdom all being destroyed within the space of an afternoon.

Why would Russia use them?

With the stakes being so high, why would anyone take that risk?

Russia has done badly in this war, the myth of its new professional armed forces lying in tatters, the country’s international prestige at rock bottom.

………..   If Putin cannot come out of this war with something that looks like victory or there is an occasion where Russian soldiers are being seen to be generally routed, the chances of nuclear use by Russia to shore up its status as a world power start to grow.

All tactical nukes are ‘strategic’

Most of the calculations for how the US and Russia would respond to the use of nuclear weapons have their origins in the Cold War and the delicate “Balance of Terror” that kept the world safe but in fear. Nuclear weapons’ use was a taboo that had not been broken since the Nagasaki bombing in the closing days of World War II. During the ensuing Cold War, the seamless integration of nuclear weapons at every level of military war planning, and their use, by both sides made the use of just one weapon a trigger for a global nuclear conflict in which everyone’s destruction was “mutually assured”.

………………………………   Doctrine is useful, as are detailed plans, but in the worst nuclear crisis, when in 1962, the US was faced with Soviet nuclear weapons just off its coast in Cuba, all these plans were thrown aside, as they all led to one thing – global annihilation. Instead, in this game of nuclear poker with the entire planet at stake, intense negotiation, civilian backchannels, last-minute private assurances and sheer bluff between the two superpowers won the day. This dialogue ignored military thinking, focusing instead on the dynamic between US President John F Kennedy and Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev and their teams.

But in 2022, two very different individuals are in charge, US President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin. The questions are simple: Would Putin break the nuclear taboo by using these weapons in anger for the first time in 77 years? And, if so, how would President Biden respond?

So, if Russia detonated just one nuclear weapon, say over a military target, would the United States risk climbing the escalatory ladder by retaliating in kind, with global destruction waiting on the top rung? President Biden recently signed a memorandum allowing the US nuclear weapons use in retaliation for a chemical or nuclear attack. Ukraine is not a NATO member though, so would Biden retaliate in kind to protect Ukraine, while running the extreme risk of destroying a country already ravaged by war. One of the ironies of nuclear weapons, not lost on the Ukrainian people, is that not only did they not deter Russia from invading Ukraine, but the potential use of nuclear weapons has in fact deterred NATO from coming to Ukraine’s aid………..

With the war going so badly in Ukraine, the scenarios President Putin could claim as victorious or successful for Russia are rapidly diminishing and Putin’s political survival is now increasingly tied to the outcome of the conflict………..   https://www.aljazeera.com/features/2022/4/6/the-spectre-of-tactical-nuclear-weapons-use-in-ukraine

April 7, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Uzbekistan: Nuclear deal with Russia still on the table despite sanctions

Uzbekistan: Nuclear deal with Russia still on the table despite sanctions, eurasianet, Even if Rosatom is not targeted by sanctions, its future projects could still be affected. Apr 6, 2022  When Uzbekistan fired the starting pistol four years ago on plans to go nuclear as a way to address the chronic energy shortages that plague it every winter, the world was a different place.

Russian President Vladimir Putin was not an international pariah. And Shavkat Mirziyoyev, his Uzbek counterpart, was courting him as a guest of honor in Tashkent.

The high point of Putin’s visit was when he and Mirziyoyev symbolically inaugurated the start to a project to build an $11 billion nuclear power plant in an area just east of Bukhara. The work was to be done by Russia’s state-owned Rosatom, a commanding presence in the global nuclear power industry, and to be funded with loans from Moscow………

When Uzbekistan fired the starting pistol four years ago on plans to go nuclear as a way to address the chronic energy shortages that plague it every winter, the world was a different place.

Russian President Vladimir Putin was not an international pariah. And Shavkat Mirziyoyev, his Uzbek counterpart, was courting him as a guest of honor in Tashkent.

The high point of Putin’s visit was when he and Mirziyoyev symbolically inaugurated the start to a project to build an $11 billion nuclear power plant in an area just east of Bukhara. The work was to be done by Russia’s state-owned Rosatom, a commanding presence in the global nuclear power industry, and to be funded with loans from Moscow.

……………………   “It is absolutely the case that projects that have not yet been completed or that still are in the design stages are extremely vulnerable to sanctions difficulties and interference, even if Rosatom is not itself presently subject to such sanctions,” Richard Nephew, the director of the International Security Initiative at Columbia University’s Center on Global Energy Policy, told Eurasianet by email. “Sanctions targeting financial transactions, technology transfers and the like will all undermine efforts to engage in and complete such projects.”

While there are clear risks to proceeding with the project, there are risks to scrapping it, too.

Aside from the certainty that cancellation would antagonize a belligerent Russia, finding a new partner to build a plant that Mirziyoyev said in 2018 would be completed within a decade would take time.

So is building the Russo-Uzbek nuclear power station still viable?

“Possibly, though given the long lead times required to develop and implement nuclear reactor projects, by the time such a project were to begin, it could be covered by sanctions,” said Nephew. “In general, it would not be advisable to start development of such projects now, given this risk.”  https://eurasianet.org/uzbekistan-nuclear-deal-with-russia-still-on-the-table-despite-sanctions

April 7, 2022 Posted by | EUROPE, politics international | Leave a comment

Argentina wants China to fully fund $8.3 bln nuclear plant 

Argentina wants China to fully fund $8.3 bln nuclear plant amid cash shortfall. By Eliana Raszewski, 6 Apr 22, LIMA, Argentina, (Reuters) – Argentina is pushing China to fully finance a new $8.3 billion nuclear power plant in the country, as the government grapples with high debt levels and looks to bring down its fiscal deficit as part of a recent deal with the International Monetary Fund.

The South American nation signed an agreement with the China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) for construction of a nuclear power plant in February. CNNC at the time said it would finance 85% of the cost, with Argentina shouldering the rest.

The country, however, now faces a tighter fiscal outlook. It needs to hit a fiscal balance by 2025 from a 3% deficit last year under terms of a recent $44 billion IMF program, including cutting billions of dollars in energy subsidies.

“We’re aiming for 100% in terms of financing from China to guarantee no delays given the problems we have with funding,” said Jorge Sidelnik, executive director of Argentina’s state operator Nucleoelectrica Argentina, the local partner…………………….     https://www.reuters.com/business/energy/argentina-wants-china-fully-fund-83-bln-nuclear-plant-amid-cash-shortfall-2022-04-05/

April 7, 2022 Posted by | business and costs, politics international, SOUTH AMERICA | Leave a comment

South Korea’s president-elect wants U.S. nuclear bombers, submarines to return

South Korea’s president-elect wants U.S. nuclear bombers, submarines to return, By Hyonhee Shin,  SEOUL, April 6 (Reuters) – Advisers to South Korea’s president-elect sought redeployment of U.S. strategic assets, such as nuclear bombers and submarines, to the Korean peninsula during talks held on a visit to Washington, one of the advisers said on Wednesday………  (subscribers only)  https://www.reuters.com/world/asia-pacific/skoreas-president-elect-wants-us-nuclear-bombers-submarines-return-2022-04-06/

Reporting by Hyonhee Shin; Additional reporting by Jeff Mason in Washington; Editing by Clarence Fernandez

April 7, 2022 Posted by | South Korea, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Ensuring radiation protection: European Commission takes Portugal to Court to guarantee citizens’ protection from ionising radiation-exposure


Ensuring radiation protection: Commission takes Portugal to Court to guarantee citizens’ protection from ionising radiation-exposure risks  
https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/IP_22_2215

The Commission is taking legal steps to ensure the protection of citizens, workers and patients against the dangers arising from exposure to ionising radiation. Today, the Commission decided to refer Portugal to the Court of Justice of the European Union for failing to fully transpose the EU’s revised Basic Safety Standards Directive (Council Directive 2013/59/Euratom) into national legislation.

Member States were required to transpose the Directive by 6 February 2018. The Commission has been providing continuous support to the Member States to properly transpose the rules. In November 2019, the Commission sent a reasoned opinion to Portugal requesting it to notify to the Commission all of its transposition measures for the Directive. Since then, Portugal has notified additional transposition measures, but has not yet established a national action plan addressing long-term risks from exposures to radon, as required by the Directive. Therefore, the Commission is referring Portugal to the Court of Justice today.

Background

The Euratom Treaty provides the Commission with the legal basis to establish basic safety standards to protect the health of workers and the general public against dangers arising from ionising radiation. Once fully implemented, the Basic Safety Standards Directive will ensure the highest level of radiation protection of workers, patients and the general public across the EU.

The Directive, which was first adopted in 1959, sets out the requirements on emergency preparedness and response in case of radiological emergency, and provides for radiation protection education, training and provision of information to the public, among others. Emergency preparedness and response provisions were strengthened following the Fukushima nuclear accident in Japan in 2011. The latest revision from December 2013 took account of the scientific and technological progress since the 1990s, and consolidated five earlier legal acts into a single piece of legislation.

April 7, 2022 Posted by | EUROPE, Legal | Leave a comment

The forgotten nuclear threat of North Korea


As the West remains focused on the war in Ukraine, Kim Jong Un has begun testing his most powerful missile to date. New Statesman,  By Katie Stallard , 6 Apr 22
, Even by the bombastic standards of North Korean propaganda, the video that accompanied Pyongyang’s missile launch on 24 March was extraordinary. The opening sequence showed Kim Jong Un, apparently channelling the late 1980s and Tom Cruise in Top Gun, striding out of a hangar in slow motion, wearing a black leather bomber jacket and dark sunglasses. Kim checked his watch……..

While the action movie-style montage was somewhat dated, the intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) test that followed demonstrated significant, and seriously concerning, new capabilities. The missile, which South Korea claimed was an updated version of a previous model rather than the weapon shown in the video, reached a height of more than 6,000 kilometres, 15 times higher than the International Space Station, putting the entire US mainland within range………………………

North Korea has steadily increased the pace and scale of its missile tests in recent months, launching newly developed weapons from submarines and trains, and test-firing what the regime said was its first hypersonic missile. …………………………….

“Kim has told us what he wants,” said Ankit Panda, a senior fellow in the nuclear policy programme at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and the author of Kim Jong Un and the Bomb. “He wants better missiles, more precise missiles, and larger missiles capable of carrying multiple warheads.” Kim has also called for the development of tactical nuclear weapons, Panda told me, and the regime is likely to carry out new nuclear tests as it experiments with smaller warheads and more compact designs.  https://www.newstatesman.com/international-politics/geopolitics/2022/04/the-forgotten-nuclear-threat-of-north-korea

April 7, 2022 Posted by | North Korea, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Chancellor Olaf Scholz reiterated Germany’s determination to close down all nuclear power stations

Scholz Shoots Down Appeal to Reverse Germany’s Nuclear Exit, Bloomberg, German Power Sources, Michael Nienaber and Arne Delfs, 6 April 2022,

Chancellor Olaf Scholz reiterated his opposition to reversing Germany’s exit from nuclear power to help cut reliance on Russian energy, saying the technical challenges would be too great.

Germany is rushing to end its heavy dependence on Russian fossil fuels following the invasion of Ukraine but the process has been complicated by the decision by former Chancellor Angela Merkel’s previous government to shut down the country’s nuclear power plants. The move was prompted by the disaster at Fukushima, Japan in 2011 and the remaining three reactors are due to go off line this year.

…..   more https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-04-06/scholz-shoots-down-appeal-to-reverse-germany-s-nuclear-exit

April 7, 2022 Posted by | Germany, politics | Leave a comment

Does EDF really need even more subsidies for Sizewell C nuclear project?

By doing so, our beloved leaders are ensuring
that Sizewell C will now have subsidised development, subsidised
construction, subsidised power production and subsidised waste management,
for a project still being run by Europe’s most subsidised company,
Electricité de France. Free markets? Don’t you believe it.

Does EDF really need even more subsidies for Sizewell C?even more subsidies for Sizewell C? Under new
legislation, our normally parsimonious government has just earmarked a
further £1.7 billion towards meeting their (uncosted) promise to ensure
that another new nuclear fission power plant may possibly begin being built
before the next election.

By doing so, our beloved leaders are ensuring
that Sizewell C will now have subsidised development, subsidised
construction, subsidised power production and subsidised waste management,
for a project still being run by Europe’s most subsidised company,
Electricité de France. Free markets? Don’t you believe it.


 Electrical Review 6th April 2022 https://electricalreview.co.uk/2022/04/06/does-edf-really-need-even-more-subsidies-for-sizewell-c/













 

April 7, 2022 Posted by | business and costs, politics, UK | Leave a comment

April 6 Energy News — geoharvey

Opinion:  ¶ “Who Cares About EV Fuel Efficiency? Drivers Don’t, But Investors Should” • Despite the daily disinformation from the oil industry and its enablers, driving electric is clearly cleaner than driving fossil, and if you do most of your charging at home, it’s substantially cheaper. But this doesn’t mean that the efficiency of an […]

April 6 Energy News — geoharvey

April 7, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Shortening the kill chain: nuclear-capable U.S. B-52s integrate with NATO Eastern flank states — Anti-bellum

U.S. Air Forces in Europe and AfricaApril 1, 2022 BTF Bakes ACE Concepts Into Latest Round of Integrations B-52 aircraft from the 69th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron based out of RAF Fairford, England, conducted integration missions with NATO Allies from Denmark, Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, Poland, and Czech Republic, March 31, 2022. During the most recent series […]

Shortening the kill chain: nuclear-capable U.S. B-52s integrate with NATO Eastern flank states — Anti-bellum

April 7, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

NATO is punishing China — Anti-bellum

B92April 5, 2022 NATO is punishing China, here’s in what way Due to the refusal to condemn the Russian operation in Ukraine, China received a warning from NATO. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg stated that the alliance will expand cooperation with partners in Asia due to China’s refusal to condemn Russia’s operation in Ukraine. Chinese […]

NATO is punishing China — Anti-bellum

April 7, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Japan to match Germany’s NATO military spending level, develop first external strike ability since WWII — Anti-bellum

Kyodo NewsApril 5, 2022 Japan defense chief looks to boost defense capabilities “drastically” A meeting of foreign ministers of NATO member and allied states will take place on Wednesday and Thursday. The ministerial will gather officials of Australia, Finland, Georgia, Japan, Korea, New Zealand, Sweden and Ukraine. Japan’s defense minister said Monday his ministry will […]

Japan to match Germany’s NATO military spending level, develop first external strike ability since WWII — Anti-bellum

April 7, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Today. Are we CERTAIN that these atrocities in Ukraine were done by Russian soldiers?

30 March, Russian troops leave Bucha. 31st March. Bucha Mayor Anatolii Fedoruk announces that all Russian trroops have gone from Bucha. ”A glorious day” – no mention of bodies littering the streets. New York Times was there, reported only ”dead soldiers and burned vehicles, according to witnesses, Ukrainian officials, satellite images and military analysts.”

2nd April The US and EU-funded Gorshenin Institute online [Ukrainian language] site Left Bank announced that:

‘Special forces have begun a clearing operation in the city of Bucha in the Kyiv region, which has been liberated by the Armed Forces of Ukraine. The city is being cleared from saboteurs and accomplices of Russian forces.’

Why did reports of slaughter of civilians appeared only 4 days after the Ukrainians retook the town

The AZOV battalian, known to be made up of Nazis, performed the clearing of ”saboteurs and accompliices”.

Ukraine has such a tortured history of ethnic hatreds – from Tsarist times, Napoleonic invasion, Stalinist repression, Nazi invasion……… no surprise that cruel retaliations continue.

But what is needed is indpendent investigation – not Russophobic knee-jerk propaganda.

April 7, 2022 Posted by | Christina's notes | 1 Comment